To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Monday, February 20, 2012

Heart Breaker Half Marathon - A Surprise!

Last month I was looking at upcoming races. I was getting close to the 1 year anniversary of  my first half marathon. With 11 under my belt I knew I wanted 1 more to get my 12 in 12. I acted on impulse, consulted with The Coach and Cilley Girl and registered for the Heart Breaker Half Marathon in Portland, Oregon.

Saturday I drove up to Portland to meet with Cilley Girl. Because she IS so awesome, she had Titanic on TV for me when I walked in the door. I said a few lines along with it - on 2 different channels!! - then we were on our way to the race expo. I resisted temptation and didn't register for any races (but I am eyeballing a couple). I DID listen to Jeff Galloway give a couple of talks. I love listening to him and seeing his excitement over running and those of us that are trying to improve. After he spoke I told the gang how I knew I would run well. I always run better after being around Jeff! 

From there we began an endless string of jokes about giant Dick's. Don't be dirty! We were talking about Dick's Sporting Goods. Biggest Dick's I've ever experienced. So big I couldn't even take it all in at once. You should have seen the size of the balls with that Dick's. Huge! Since I'm a junior high boy, these things never get old to me - or Cilley Girl for that matter. After tons of shopping we had a yummy pre-race dinner at the Raccoon Lodge. I might have this more often because it seems to help me run!

Race Day

I hit snooze a few times before we were up and Adam, quickly out the door on our way to downtown Portland. Parking was a breeze and in no time at all we were warming up at the race start. A DJ was playing music and getting us pumped up for the run, and then a surprise! Jeff Galloway was there giving us last minute words of advice. I felt calm and ready -- very uncharacteristic of me.  At 7:30am the gun went off and I was on my way, filled with nerves and excitement!

My race goals changed throughout the first 10 miles. First goal - sub-3 hours. I knew this was going to be hilly and kick my ass. I promised The Coach I wouldn't race it, I'd just use it as a training run as I prepare for Eugene. Plus I hate hills. To achieve my goal I would stick with the 4:1 ratio as long as possible before I resigned to walking. Another goal I have had was to some day run 10K without ever stopping. Boom - done!

The number of runners was pretty small and the majority seemed to break away fast at the start. I spent the majority of the first 5 miles with people all around my pace. I used them for motivation and resisted urges to try to race them. At mile 1.5-ish we hit our first aid station. No water, just big, juicy strawberries! I had to take one just because it was the first time it has ever been offered to me. I nibbled on it during walking segments and finally tossed it around mile 4. It was good! My usual sensitive tummy did get a little unhappy around mile 4 when I thought I was having a big sip of water. It was some electrolyte drink I've never had. I hated it. For the next 2 miles I was touch and go. New goal - Finish.

At 6.7 miles I finally paused on a hill for delicious water and 1/3 of a Clif shot and fun conversation with the high school boys handing out water. At that moment I realized I was about to start THE hill. The plan was to run the flat-ish and downhill bits (very few and far between) and quickly walk on the uphill. I had no desire to hurt myself, I had no desire to let my mind get the better of me. This was a training run after all. At some moments I couldn't see any runners in front of me or behind me. New goal - beat at least 2 people. 

Then came mile 10. I had been going for 2 hours. My hips were sore but I wasn't feeling terrible. I started heading down the hill. Then I realized I have been going for just over 2 hours and have only a 5K left. I ran up by another woman and asked her how many more uphills we had to tackle. She said, "None! All down hill from here!"  "Awesome!! I walked up all of those hills, I'm ready to run this sucker in. Thanks!!" And off I went. The math started going and I realized ... NEW GOAL:  Get a PR.

12 in 12!
No more 4:1. No more trying to not burn out by going too fast. No more easy training run. This PR was going to be mine without a doubt. I opened up my stride - even threw my arms in the air out of joy when I realized what I was going to do - and felt a huge smile come over my face. Those 3 miles were awesome. So much joy and determination flowing through my body. Other runners and I encouraged each other as we celebrated surviving the huge hill, and I couldn't take my eyes off my Garmin. Also I noticed that those people I started the race with and lost on the hills? I was back with them ... and passing them as I ran sub-9 for a while! I was on fire!

Soon, there it was. The finish line. I hit the straight stretch, kicked into my finishing sprint, crossed the mat and jumped in the air with a shout of joy. New PR!! A race I was worried about finishing, and instead I beat my prior PR by 4 minutes!! I can't even describe the emotions going through me - but there were tears of joy!

I immediately got my medal and called The Coach to tell him the news. He was speechless. It was awesome!  Quickly I met up with Cilley Girl, Donna and Jules and we all shared stories of our respective races while I dined on some strawberry shortcake! It was a surprisingly awesome day of races! I never expected a PR at all, but what a way to get my 12th half marathon in 12 months! I'm still in shock and still smiling!! Go big or go home, right?!?


  1. YOU ARE AMAZING!!! That is so awesome! Way to go!!!

  2. Great job! That is really impressive!

  3. Awesome!! Way to rock a race that you were merely hoping to finish. Your are going to kill at Eugene!

    I especially like your Dick's recap. I read that part out loud to Dan... he enjoyed it as well. :)

  4. You go girl!! Congrats!! Way to rock the PR!

  5. Holy smokes, that is AWESOME!!! Congrats on the PR! Perfect way to kick off RAD.

  6. Fantastic!! On a hard course too, I hear! Lots of hills and you smashed it when you were just going to do a training run. :)
    Way to use the 4:1 ratio and drop it when it made sense to!
    Love the strawberries and the shortcake - I could use that for a post race snack. mmm.
    Way to go!!

  7. Yay Ronda!

    So proud of you - wish I could say my run was as awesome as yours! (or Donna's, for that matter...)

    Next time it's Shamrock Time!!

  8. And you DIDN'T call, or text to tell me you were in town. :-( It's OK, I was working the whole bloody weekend. Good job kid. Now if I can just get you to think of hills as no big deal...I mean really, you live in a town carved out of hills, you should be able to run them.

  9. Awesome job!!!! Way to rock the race. :)

  10. Hills are for heroes! Congrats on your PR, so very awesome.

    Titanic on two different channels at the same time? Have you ever been happier, hehe?

  11. please tell me you giggled when they gave you your number? Or am I the only one who is immature like that.

  12. You are always so UPBEAT! Sounds like a great race and expo.

  13. YOU all are awesome!!

    Thanks for all the happy comments!!

  14. Congratulations on your PR! After reading over your blog, I cannot believe it is only 12 months since your first HM.

    Best wishes and keep running. :)

  15. Congrats! What a celebration for 12 in 12 and a PR. That's awesome!!!

  16. Woohoo for 12 half's in 12 months AND a new PR! You rock :)

  17. I can't decide which is more awesome, your PR, or your OUTFIT. I was telling Becka when u posted your photos on facebook how you looked great and more trim. good job whatever you are doing!


Thanks for reading my little blog, your comments rock my compression socks!! ºoº